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Capsized express boat located

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BELAGA: The Kawan Mas express boat has been located 350m away from Giam Bungan where it sunk on May 28. It is resting on a rock at a depth of 18m in Sungai Rajang.

Belaga police chief Deputy Superintendent Bakar Sebau said scuba divers from Therra Horizon Sdn Bhd, which is the Petronas subsidiary company tasked to continue with the search-and-rescue operation, located the boat at 5.45pm yesterday.

He said the company was waiting for the arrival of three divers, a naval engineer and necessary equipment to refloat it.

"I have been told the equipment will be here tomorrow and they will start work the following day.

"In the meantime, my men, Fire and Rescue Department, Rela and Civil Defence Department personnel will continue with their surface search," said Bakar, who is in charge of the operation.

Meanwhile, Therra Horizon technical adviser Captain Khairul Azeman Mokhtar said the refloating of the boat would be a tedious and painstaking process.

"We need to be very careful. We do not want to break the boat because of water pressure.

"We have also asked our naval engineer from Kuala Lumpur to come and supervise the entire operation."

Khairul said he expected the boat to be brought to the surface within two days.

The Kawan Mas was carrying more than 200 passengers when it sank at Giam Bungan, a rapid in the upper reaches of Sungai Rajang, after hitting a log and developing engine problem.

Two hundred and thirteen passengers survived. Two -- Roslin Jati, 34, and Maurice Ajan, 22, -- are still missing and one had been confirmed dead.

The boat was packed with workers returning to celebrate the annual Gawai Dayak festival on June 1 and was licensed to carry only 64 passengers.

Meanwhile, a badly decomposed body of a man was found floating in Sungai Rajang, near the Rh.Lat longhouse in Punan Sama, here.

The place is more than an hour's boat journey from Giam Bungan.

Bakar said the man wore blue jeans with a leather belt and a red underwear.

Passengers of an express boat passing through the area saw the body at 1pm.

He said the body had been taken to the health clinic here. It could not be ascertained whether the body was one of the passengers on Kawan Mas.

He advised people with any missing male relative to report and check with the Belaga police. Bernama

A diver from Therra Horizon Sdn Bhd diving into Sungai Rajang at Giam Mas, near Belaga, yesterday. Bernama pic


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